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John Powell's SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (2018)

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It surprises me that you aren't the least bit bothered going from Williams masterful orchestration of his theme in track 1, straight into track 2 where Powell just adds a very generic synth sounding percussion under it. To me that was very jarring. I cannot help my immediately instinctive reaction. It's not like I'm on a witch hunt for Powell's blood. I am just surprised and saddened by my initial reaction to the score.

 

 

I don't give a single crap about Star Wars anymore. TFA and TLJ has ruined it for me now. I love Rogue One, but I have zero interest in Solo, only the score. I was so looking forward to it. And now Star Wars has nothing to interest me anymore. Only Williams doing Episode 9 is keeping me inside the Star Wars universe. And the hopeful prospect that JNH will do a Spinoff.

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It's two different composers, recorded by two different orchestras in two different countries.  Of course there's a difference.  Are you really surprised that not everyone is bothered by it, as though everyone would have the same opinion that you do?

 

Besides, Chewie's theme has shaped up to be better than what Williams contributed I reckon, not that there is anything bad about the latter.

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It's obviously not a BAD theme, otherwise not even Powell would be able to do anything with it. It's just the Williams version sounds every bit as tired and weightless as people complain Goldsmith to be in the 90's/early 2000's (except in this case, Williams really has been on autopilot).

Just now, Yavar Moradi said:

 

Surely Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, at least?

 

Yavar

Not being masterful doesn't necessarily mean lack of merit entirely. 

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2 minutes ago, TGP said:

It's two different composers, recorded by two different orchestras in two different countries.  Of course there's a difference.

 

I'm talking about the quality of orchestration, hence why I said orchestration. 

4 minutes ago, kaseykockroach said:

Williams hasn't done anything "masterful" since 1997.

 

Hahahahahahahahabababababhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahah

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To clarify, Williams hasn't done anything TERRIBLE.

He just hasn't been interesting. And rest assured, he doesn't need to. He's more than earned the right to phone it in at this point.

But even Giacchino intrigues me more nowadays, despite the constantly-mentioned fact that he's inferior.

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Well of course there is a difference. And, of course, Williams orchestrates better. But then, no other composer would be able to match it in this style. Not Powell, not James Newton Howard, not Giacchino, not Davis. And not even Horner. None of these guys can do that. So there's no surprise there.

 

Karol

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4 minutes ago, kaseykockroach said:

To clarify, Williams hasn't done anything TERRIBLE.

He just hasn't been interesting. And rest assured, he doesn't need to. He's more than earned the right to phone it in at this point.

 

I'm not sure how you function day to day believing that, but still. 

 

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22 minutes ago, leeallen01 said:

It surprises me that you aren't the least bit bothered going from Williams masterful orchestration of his theme in track 1, straight into track 2 where Powell just adds a very generic synth sounding percussion under it.

 

You seem unable to see the wood from the trees, and are obsessively fixated on the "synth sound percussion."

 

That ominous brass choir is Williams refracted through Powell's prism, the arcing string arpeggios (recalling A.I.'s Abandoned in the Woods) in that transitional passage are Williams but transformed by Powell into his own progression, the snappy trumpet punctuations are Powell channeling Williams... What more do you want?

 

It sounds great to my ears. I can hear the influences of Arnold, Howard and Silvestri, but that to me is part of a broad post-Goldsmith vernacular that can't be trace to one particular composer.   

 

I agree with Jack that the Train Heist cue is somewhat Arnoldian in the drum programming and syncopations, but the orchestration is so much more transparent. While I'm not an Arnoldphobe (any more), he does tend to bog down his action music in unnecessary filigree, and fussy cadenza-like passages over dominant pedals. This is refreshingly free of that.

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6 minutes ago, DominicCobb said:

 

Nope! Just wasted 2+ hours of my day looking. The worst part was I went to stores where it *said* it was listed but there weren’t any there.

 

Try Barnes & Noble? I just ordered an in-store pick-up at a local one. Should (fingers crossed) get a text in an hour or few saying it's ready for me.

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What a wonderful score. Well done Mr. Powell. 

 

1 hour ago, TGP said:

Good grief, what is all this about RCP percussion (which I assume means low but boosted surdos, taikos, big bass drums etc.)?  Am I the only one who doesn't hear anything of the sort in this score?  I hear...percussion.  Are some people just allergic to anything with a beat now?

 

No sense arguing with fools, @TGP.

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44 minutes ago, kaseykockroach said:

Williams hasn't done anything "masterful" since 1997.

The Book Thief was masterful.

Memoirs of a Geisha was masterful. 

The Horn Concerto was masterful.

ROTS was masterful.

Across the Stars was masterful

Adventures of Han is masterful......

etc.....

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Well, aside from a tad too much percussion and perhaps a smidgen of overreliance on Williams's A theme, I think Powell did quite a good job with the score.

He has the touch.  Lando's Closet and the second half of Testing Allegiance are almost masterful, the kind of writing we need more of these days.  The texture of the latter, with piano, strings and harp and horn/woodwinds really brings Williams to mind, but I think Powell's approach is fresh.  Quite outstanding.

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13 hours ago, DominicCobb said:

One thing that was really interesting was how Powell handled the old Williams material. He wasn’t just referencing themes or motifs, but specific film cues (temp love?). I caught the Asteroid Field and Here They Come (obviously), a track with the Death Star motif (the specific one of which I’m forgetting), and I think the Battle of Crait? And that was all in one sequence. 

 

The obvious Asteroid Field melody is used briefly during, yes, a bit with asteroids, but other parts of the cue are used too (as well as maybe “Attacking a Star Destroyer” if I remember correctly?). It’s all during one big action set piece sequence which make me think there was some temp music editing involved.

 

Okay, so anyone who's listened to the soundtrack will know I'm talking about "Reminiscence Therapy."

 

Starts with a Death Star motif, goes into a bit from "Imperial Cruiser Pursuit," then "Attacking a Star Destroyer," then later has "Tie Fighter Attack (Here They Come)," various bits of "The Asteroid Field," some of which he does some cool variations on, and that stuff that sounds like "The Battle of Crait," which admittedly is also in the title suite Williams composed.

 

I will say, on first impression of the soundtrack, Powell's best use of an existing theme is the main title when Solo sees the Falcon for the first time ("L3 & Millennium Falcon"), and in general I appreciate his use and interpretations of that theme and the Rebel fanfare, which is what I was hoping for from him in that regard (and little or no Force theme).

 

I really like Han's theme, and am still trying to get into the other stuff, but I like it too, and melodically find it fits very well into the existing Star Wars soundscape. 

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Has anyone attempted a comprehensive listing with YouTube links of the big statements of Powell's major themes?  I ask because I have yet to identify L3's theme at all.  Also, does that awesome, eminently Williamsy military motif in "Mine Mission" and "Break Out" have an official association, or is that a one-off Kessel melody?

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3 hours ago, Sharky said:

 

I know, right?

 

 

"What are those awful RCP drums doing in a period score?!! Has Williams lost his mind?"

 

Fucking reactionary idiots.

 

What the fuck is up with these reactions? Is this 2003 all over again?

 

What the hell, people? 

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3 minutes ago, Muad'Dib said:

 

What the fuck is up with these reactions? Is this 2003 all over again?

 

What the hell, people? 

In general, classical music, as well as film music has fallen too much in love with percussion.  That said, Powell did not go over the top in the score.  I don't find any of the percussion to be overly Zimmeresque.

 

On a different note, Mine Mission is also a brilliant track.  Here, I think Powell was quite perfect in his use of percussion.

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12 minutes ago, Steve McQueen said:

On a different note, Mine Mission is also a brilliant track.  Here, I think Powell was quite perfect in his use of percussion.

 

It gets better every time I listen to it. In fact, I have an irresistible urge to transcribe it...

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Would it be absurd to claim I've found Powell's only gotten better and better over the years in terms of maturing writing, orchestrations, etc?

He's always been good obviously, but I find a world of difference between Ferdinand and, say, Antz.

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4 hours ago, Sharky said:

 

Fucking reactionary idiots.

 

Yeah fuck those fuckers who form an opinion based on their reaction to something. I shouldn't stop eating a food if I don't like the taste of it. Instead, I should just keep eating it more and more before forming an opinion on it...

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10 minutes ago, leeallen01 said:

 

Yeah fuck those fuckers who form an opinion based on their reaction to something. I shouldn't stop eating a food if I don't like the taste of it. Instead, I should just keep eating it more and more before forming an opinion on it...

 

Yeah those food people are FRIs too. Children are particularly idiotic in this domain.  If you don’t like spinach, it doesn’t mean you won’t like spanakopita. But FRI are ideologically opposed to the very concept of spinach, so they eat the spanakopita with the drive to hate it because it has spinach. They react to the concept rather than the real thing in front of them. 

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14 minutes ago, kaseykockroach said:

Would it be absurd to claim I've found Powell's only gotten better and better over the years in terms of maturing writing, orchestrations, etc?

He's always been good obviously, but I find a world of difference between Ferdinand and, say, Antz.

 

Not absurd at all, in fact, this is one of the main reasons why he's a favourite of mine. You can tell that he always tries even harder with each new score.

 

Still, HTTYD is better than everything...

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7 minutes ago, Blumenkohl said:

 

No, because percussion used by John Williams is pure. Percussion used by Powell (with old links to RCP) is impure. 

 

I bet if this exact album said Composed and Conducted by John Williams the naysayers couldn't stop coming.... and coming.... and coming.

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3 minutes ago, Muad'Dib said:

 

I bet if this exact album said Composed and Conducted by John Williams the naysayers couldn't stop coming.... and coming.... and coming.

 

Yep, they’d be praising how well Williams modernized Star Wars, and how refreshing it was to see him try something new.

 

I mean how many of us came hard for “No Man’s Land” in War Horse for those very same reasons?

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